Silencing men – or at least pro-life men.

by Roger Resler

My Dr. Seuss post from February, 2013 continues to draw comments, mainly from pro-choice proponents. One recent supportive comment, however, came from Carlos Zamora. He writes: 

Great argument Roger. It pleases me greatly to see such an educated and well informed individual standing up for the rights of the unborn. Especially a man. Far too often have I been scorned and my opinion completely disregarded on the matter simply because I do not possess ovaries. In reality, that is a very stupid point. Never before in history were you expected to be either a victim or a perpetrator of an injustice in order to speak out against it. But like I said, great information and great blog. I hope to get a chance to read your book soon.

Of course this will likely be dismissed by those on the pro-choice side (especially the females) as merely one “anti-choice” male complimenting another for promoting misogynistic ideas. The simplest stereotypical explanation is usually preferred when a genuine understanding of the opposing point of view would otherwise require thoughtful consideration.

Ironically, while neither Carlos nor myself had any choice in the matter of our gender, neither (presumably) did our female critics who seem confident that “femaleness” is a necessary prerequisite to free speech when the topic is abortion. Carlos makes a good point when he observes that:

Never before in history were you expected to be either a victim or a perpetrator of an injustice in order to speak out against it.

Like Carlos, I’ve run into the “gender objection” from pro-choice advocates on many occasions – and it always seems to be pro-choice females who raise the objection. Take for example this blog entry. Simply stated, the idea is that men don’t get pregnant, therefore they have no right to speak against abortion. Conversely, you might think – at least for the sake of consistency (or at the very least the appearance of consistency) – men should also not be encouraged to speak in support of the pro-choice cause, right? Wrong. Take for instance this NARAL endorsed “Men For Choice” celebration marquee that reads:

We appreciate the men who stand proud for reproductive rights, and we’re thrilled to celebrate their contributions at two exciting Men For Choice events! 

Or this one, which “honors” pro-choice Massachusetts State Representatives Carl Sciortino and Jim O’Day and then lists their accomplishments for the pro-choice cause. Not only does NARAL allow these men to speak about abortion, they furnish a platform and then promote their comments.

Or how about feminist Colleen Crinion’s admonition that abortion rights is “still an issue [men] need to support.” Crinion suggests that:

Just as gay rights needs straight allies and civil rights needs white supporters, abortion rights need men. If you know and love a woman then you should care about access to abortion.

And then there’s the love-fest between NARAL and 11 Men For Choice.

There’s clearly a double standard here. It seems that men (who can’t get pregnant whether they’re pro-choice or not) can speak about abortion if their speech conforms to acceptable pro-choice guidelines.

But what if you’re male and you sincerely believe induced abortion is an injustice? What do you do in that case? According to pro-choice feminists you can either change your views or shut up. Why? Well, basically because you can’t get pregnant. Consider again Carlos’s observation:

Far too often have I been scorned and my opinion completely disregarded on the matter simply because I do not possess ovaries.

As Carlos notes, based on his own experience, you can’t speak out about abortion if you’re male and you see abortion as an injustice. This conveniently eliminates potential criticism from half of all would-be pro-choice critics. For the remaining segment of the population, again, as Carlos points out:

Never before in history were you expected to be either a victim or a perpetrator of an injustice in order to speak out against it.

In this case the smallest victims can’t speak out (other than a very few abortion survivors like Melissa Ohden) and the perpetrators won’t (other than a few brave souls who’ve changed their positions like Abby Johnson, Bernard Nathanson or Carol Everett).

What this all boils down to is the idea that the only people who allegedly have any moral grounds to actually speak about abortion are women who approve of it and the males who agree with them. If you’re a male and you believe in “a woman’s right to choose” abortion on demand for any reason, then speak all you want. But if you’re male and you sincerely see abortion as an injustice, then shut up because you can’t get pregnant. And if that doesn’t silence you then prepare to be accused of wanting to control women and having your opinions branded as either religious imposition or misogynistic hate speech.

The debate over “personhood” was created by pro-choice proponents in order to make the pro-life position impossible to maintain. From the same playbook, pro-choice philosophy also attempts to impose ground rules on free speech that make it impossible for abortion critics of the wrong gender to have a voice. As one blogger puts it:

men are dismissed on the basis of their sex as an anti-intellectual manoeuvre to try to shut down critical enquiry on this ideologically-charged topic.  

What we see from the prevalence of all this is that many – if not most – pro-choice advocates simply aren’t interested in having a legitimate, civil discussion. They’re not interested in listening to and understanding the claims made by those on the other side. If there’s any truth to pro-life arguments, they don’t want to hear it. They prefer to stereotype, caricature, marginalize and silence the opposition. This is an example of the ad hominem fallacy wherein “a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.” People who are arguing a weak case are particularly prone to this kind of fallacious response. When this type of response is commonly resorted to among pro-choice proponents – to the point of being openly posted on pro-choice websites (see for example this or this) – it’s a pretty clear indication that there must not be much left for them to fall back on.  

Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.

A person’s a person, even if Dr. Seuss threatens to sue

by Roger Resler

The recurring maxim expressed by “Horton” the elephant in Dr. Seuss’s classic story Horton Hears a Who, goes like this: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” So certain is this truth to Horton, that he takes it as being self-evident. His actions throughout the story are admirably consistent with this assertion and the moral implications that accompany it.

While enjoying a bath in a river, Horton’s large ears pick up on a tiny voice emanating from a speck of dust as it flutters by. While Horton never sees the person producing the voice – since that person is too tiny to be seen by an elephant – he, nevertheless, realizes that there must be a person there since he can clearly hear the voice coming from the speck of dust. In fact, there is apparently an entire city – if not a planet – consisting of many “Who’s” living on that speck of dust.

Trouble enters the story when Horton’s animal friends reject the foolish notion that there could be any kind of life, much less a person, living on a speck of dust. They accordingly ridicule Horton for believing in such nonsense. Eventually, in an effort to relieve Horton of his delusions, it is decided that the dust speck should be boiled in oil. Knowing that this would mean a sudden and violent destruction of Who civilization (resisting the desire for a Roger Daltrey joke here), Horton does everything in his power to save the dust speck from such a terrible fate; because, “after all, a person’s a person, no matter how small.”

In the end, the Who’s concerted effort at noise-making generates enough decibels to register in the ears of Horton’s skeptical friends. Once they realize they had been wrong in their criticism, their mood changes dramatically and, once again, in accordance with the truth that “a person’s a person, no matter how small,” they cease their attempt to destroy the dust speck (which they now realize would be immoral) and everyone lives happily ever after – that is until pro-life advocates wanted to express the same truth to a skeptical world.

The irony is that the creator of Horton, the Who’s and Whoville itself, the late Theodore Geisel, apparently preferred to identify with the skeptics rather than those advancing the same truth his hero expresses when it comes to the controversy surrounding the morality of abortion. My introduction to this bizarre turn of events came a few days ago from someone who commented on the trailer for my book Compelling Interest. In both the book and the trailer, we quote this phrase of Dr. Seuss (or more precisely Horton) because we agree with it.

While commenting on the trailer, smitelystacey, asks if we are aware that Dr. Seuss, “never intended his quote to be used in this manner” and that, “he threatened to sue an anti-abortion group for using his quote [on their letterhead] before he died, and his widow has also spoken out against people hijacking his work to support their own agendas.”


I’m sorry but this is one of those things that just takes the cake. No, in fact, I was not aware of Dr. Seuss’s antipathy toward the pro-life agenda, nor would I ever have imagined such a thing. Admittedly, I’ve seen some strange things in my near half-century on this earth, but the irony of Dr. Seuss threatening to sue a pro-life group for using the phrase “A person’s a person, no matter how small,” when they agree with the premise, is certainly unexpected. Upon further investigation I learned that Dr. Seuss was apparently quite liberal and – it would appear – was either pro-choice on abortion or at least opposed to the pro-life agenda.

Of course threatening to sue and actually being able to sue are two different things. I’m reasonably confident that Dr. Seuss had no exclusive copyright on the phrase “A person’s a person, no matter how small” nor – more importantly – on the moral truth behind the phrase. Even if that had been the case, it’s still quite legal for anyone to quote the phrase provided they properly attribute it to Dr. Seuss. Even skeptics who don’t believe that “a person’s a person no matter how small” are free to quote the phrase. But the idea that Geisel would threaten to sue a pro-life group for using the phrase, and that his widow has “spoken out against people hijacking his work to support their own agendas” is jaw dropping in light of the moral implications behind Horton’s sudden awareness of the existence of microscopic human life.

If pro-life people wanted to misuse the quote or twist it to mean something different from the truth expressed by Horton, I could understand the Geisel’s righteous indignation. As it is, pro-lifers use the quote precisely because they agree with it! It would be like the police department threatening to sue security guards for suggesting their job also exists “To protect and to serve.”

There is abundantly more objective evidence supporting the fact that human life exists long before it can be registered by adult sensory perception than there is for the existence of barely audible Who’s living on a speck of dust. If the Geisel’s don’t/didn’t believe that human fetuses or embryos are persons, they are free to disbelieve, but such skepticism is perfectly analogous to the villains in the Horton story who also don’t believe human life could exist at a microscopic level. The truth expressed in the phrase: “A person’s a person no matter how small” remains valid in both cases. The irony is beyond palpable.

smitelystacey closes her remarks (I’m assuming a female gender here, my apologies if I’m mistaken) by suggesting that we should: “Keep your personal opinions away from women’s bodies, and don’t steal a dead man’s work in order to gain support for your erroneous life views,” – as though the assertion that: “A person’s a person, no matter how small” only represents my (erroneous!) “personal opinion” and only infringes on “women’s bodies” when it’s expressed by me and other pro-life proponents rather than by Horton the elephant in a children’s book. Apparently Horton knew how to use the phrase in a non-erroneous manner.

After the dust settles (pun intended, feel free to roll eyes) pro-lifers, like Horton, will continue to operate under the self-evident truth that a person’s a person, no matter how small and will consistently recognize the moral implications of that truth to human life at any stage of development regardless of Theodore Geisel’s political views or pre-mortem threats of imminent lawsuits.